Symphony X

What's your favorite Symphony X album?

  • Symphony X

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Damnation Game

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Iconoclast

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Underworld

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    17

Detective Beauregard

Independent as a hog on ice
It’s great to hear Floor compliment Russell, but it’s almost like she’s crapping on the Symphony X guys at the same time. The funny thing is that Symphony X hasn’t really been “proggy” since 2002.
 

Black Wizard

Pleb Hunter

Mike LePond: "Well, what we decided is as soon as the virus thing kind of slows down a little bit, we're gonna get together and write a new record. We've told Nuclear Blast that we're ready to start writing, so they know. So the wheels are gonna start, I would say, within about a month or so."

It's about time!
 

Detective Beauregard

Independent as a hog on ice
I miss progressive Symphony X. I just read an interview with bassist Michael Lepond where he has always been unhappy with being labeled a progressive band because he said it has hurt their popularity. He thinks people compare them to Dream Theater too often, which I agree with, but that comparison has turned people off and that “from Paradise Lost on, we’ve been a heavy metal band.”

The older albums had some progressive masterpieces. Divine Wings, The Odyssey, Through the Looking Glass, Rediscovery, the Accolades, Awakenings...
 

Detective Beauregard

Independent as a hog on ice
I like the neoclassical approach of the early days.

Agreed.

It’s not that I dislike the band’s last three albums; I still think they’re better than 99% of metal out there. The shorter, heavier songs on these albums are generally stronger compositions than similar songs from previous albums (save for the lyrics), but the “progressive” tracks just aren’t as strong. Paradise Lost, Swan Song, etc. are solid tracks, but they don’t have the depth of songwriting and neoclassicalism that Communion and the Oracle, Candlelight Fantasia, etc. do. The early progressive gems were complex without being confusing, which has always been Dream Theater’s problem. The songs have polymeters left and right, but there’s always a constant groove thanks to Jason Rullo’s drumming and Mike Romeo’s compositional skills. The keyboards also played a much larger role. Modern Symphony X has been trying to pull in the younger generic metal fan base since Paradise Lost - and they’re a great metal band - but the spark is gone.

To read Lepond’s anti-progressive words was quite a disappointment. I guess this is why most of the guys dislike V; it’s too “progressive” with lyrics about “ancient gods and shit” instead of edgy words about generic struggles written at a third-grade level. Albums like Divine Wings and The Odyssey have something for all metal fans, and sadly I don’t think we’ll ever get something like that from these guys again.

That said, I do think that Underworld was a step in the right direction after the bloated and contrived Iconoclast.
 

Diesel 11

As you scream into the web of silence...
I have just finished listening through every Symphony X album. The four that I heard earlier this year are growing on me, the other five I listened to for the first time just now are interesting and require further listens. I’m excited to really get into this band. If anyone wants song-by-song reviews let me know. Otherwise I’ll probably just post my thoughts as I get deeper into them.
 

JudasMyGuide

A man for all seasons
While I admit I might have said occasionally something against your bloated "every-song" reviews in the past, I admit I would be very interested in your song-by-song assessment of Symph X, especially since they're one of the few metal bands I still regularly listen to and genuinely love.

(also would be very interested in your song-by-song assessment of Opeth, since I've been trying to get the new Survivor off the ground, but that's a given, I guess)
 

Diesel 11

As you scream into the web of silence...
While I admit I might have said occasionally something against your bloated "every-song" reviews in the past, I admit I would be very interested in your song-by-song assessment of Symph X, especially since they're one of the few metal bands I still regularly listen to and genuinely love.
I like doing song-by-song reviews simply because I like reading them if they’ve been done for a band I really like. Just listening through Symphony X I used Knick’s and LC’s, for Iced Earth, Mosh’s and NP’s. They’re a good reference point to build off of and when I write my own I try to put a lot of effort into what I say and how I say it. Metallica was a solid learning point for me and I feel like I overdid it in the sense of describing everything within the song and not just the key parts and overall opinions.

But also when I write song-by-song reviews I always hope there are people interested in them. When I did Metallica people seemed to latch on to the ratings a bit too much; when I did Rammstein and Nightwish almost no one seemed interested in them. For the latter I just stopped reviewing. If I’m gonna do Symphony X I would hope it’s a place to build off of for a wider discussion of them. They’re a very interesting band and I have a lot of opinions which I’m gonna see fleshed out as I listen to them more.


(also would be very interested in your song-by-song assessment of Opeth, since I've been trying to get the new Survivor off the ground, but that's a given, I guess)
I’ve actually been considering that since I’m going to be working my way through their discography and I know you’re big on them. It’ll be a little harder because death metal takes usually more time to grow on me but I’d be very interested in doing it.
 

JudasMyGuide

A man for all seasons
I like doing song-by-song reviews simply because I like reading them if they’ve been done for a band I really like. Just listening through Symphony X I used Knick’s and LC’s, for Iced Earth, Mosh’s and NP’s. They’re a good reference point to build off of and when I write my own I try to put a lot of effort into what I say and how I say it. Metallica was a solid learning point for me and I feel like I overdid it in the sense of describing everything within the song and not just the key parts and overall opinions.

But also when I write song-by-song reviews I always hope there are people interested in them. When I did Metallica people seemed to latch on to the ratings a bit too much; when I did Rammstein and Nightwish almost no one seemed interested in them. For the latter I just stopped reviewing. If I’m gonna do Symphony X I would hope it’s a place to build off of for a wider discussion of them. They’re a very interesting band and I have a lot of opinions which I’m gonna see fleshed out as I listen to them more.

I totally get it. In a way :D I mean, if it's a band that I really live and breathe for I'm all fine with that. I don't consider it to be a "review", though, more of a fanboy analysis, maybe? And sure, a good jump-off point for a discussion.

That's what we've been doing back in the Dream Theater survivor (still one of my favourite threads around here) and what the guys have been doing in the past Opeth ones. That's why I even collected all that shit in that 100 page long Opeth Word document with everything that's been possibly said about them here being sorted. Because I want to fucking read your opinions for each song along with my listening experience, so what?

But when it's a band that I even actually like, but just not the most (like Nightwish for example), I find it really tiresome. Like, I'm wishing you (a "general" you, not you in particular) would pick and stress the interesting stuff. Or maybe give it more of that poetic flair that professional reviews tend to have (or at least used to).

(and tbh, some of your ratings are just too ... "randy"? Like, I even used to have Once as my favourite NW album and I was glad to see it getting some love... but you gave it like 98 % or what and that was just absurd and completely took me out of it. I don't think the best band ever ever did a 98 % album. Abbey Road, The White Album, Sticky Fingers, they ain't 98%. You get what I mean? Sorry, but I just had to say that)

Also I'm glad when there's something really substantial to be said about each track then, 'cause sure - "this song starts great and then fizzles out" is too vague. Like, get into it. What's great? etc. Again, this is not really against you, it's just what comes to mind when you want to talk about each track.

That's what's really cool about talking about prog, methinks, you can talk about each track and it's almost guaranteed you will have something to talk about. When the song is 10 minutes long, you just have to.

I’ve actually been considering that since I’m going to be working my way through their discography and I know you’re big on them. It’ll be a little harder because death metal takes usually more time to grow on me but I’d be very interested in doing it.

Very cool! Honestly, although I've listened to great death metal even before (Death - Symbolic - Empty Words in particular), it was them who really made me appreciate deathmet, growls and everything. Some of the most intriguing riffs I ever heard. And - to me at least - a truly artistic band - it was a band I tried getting my non-metal, non-rock (and actually somewhat non-music, more like literature and philosophy) friends into, with varying degrees of success.

That's not a push, I just hope your enjoyment's going to be at least 10 % of mine. Because even then you'll be having a really great time and I want to read about it :D
 

Diesel 11

As you scream into the web of silence...
I totally get it. In a way :D I mean, if it's a band that I really live and breathe for I'm all fine with that. I don't consider it to be a "review", though, more of a fanboy analysis, maybe? And sure, a good jump-off point for a discussion.
It's definitely an analysis, but I think "review" also describes it very well. I think one thing people misunderstand when I do song-by-song reviews is that I'm not reviewing the album, I'm reviewing the individual components of the album. There's a solid difference I think. When reviewing an album, you wanna give it an overview of what's good and what's bad. When you're reviewing songs you wanna dive in as your listening and give more in-depth thoughts. An album I've always felt should be more than just a collection of songs. There should be a reason these songs are connected, whether that's through sound, concept, artistic vision, etc. And then even when an album may have a weaker song, it can still stand up as a unified work. But with that being said...

(and tbh, some of your ratings are just too ... "randy"? Like, I even used to have Once as my favourite NW album and I was glad to see it getting some love... but you gave it like 98 % or what and that was just absurd and completely took me out of it. I don't think the best band ever ever did a 98 % album. Abbey Road, The White Album, Sticky Fingers, they ain't 98%. You get what I mean? Sorry, but I just had to say that)
See, I've had this discussion before with people and I still respectfully disagree. There aren't very many albums that I think are perfect, but the bands I like typically have at least one album that's really great or actually is, in my humble opinion, perfect (or as perfect as possible). Like I keep harping on The Chemical Wedding, but that's because every single song just absolutely crushes me when I listen to it and I can say 100% that I wouldn't change a single second on that album because every single second is used perfectly. Again, all just my opinion and from my impressions when I listen to it. Once also falls into that category (the three songs I gave 9's are easy, easy 10's for me now), as does Powerslave, Bat Out Of Hell, and Bat Out Of Hell II: Back Into Hell. I wish I could come up with a more compelling argument beyond just "I love these albums and I think every song on them is perfect and I would not change a thing", but I really can't because that's what it boils down to.

Then there are albums which I consider perfect in spite of small imperfections here and there. The X Factor is a good example of this. Even when a song like "Look For The Truth" isn't perfect, it fits within the album and is actively a part of why I love said album. The Call Of The Wretched Sea, too. The first five songs (including the "interludium") are all absolutely masterful, and then The Hunt and Ahab's Oath, which close out the album, don't quite hit the same highs for me (but I'd probably still give them 9's). The production seems to shift for them and sounds almost as if they were just taken from the debut EP without being re-recorded. The Hunt is also a bit long and Ahab's Oath doesn't end the album as well as I would like it to. But at the same time, do I really care that much when I'm listening it? Not really. For any of their flaws, the latter song provides this really dark mood that none of the others on the album have, and The Hunt has WHALE AHEAD!!! which is such a fucking incredible moment. So again, I wouldn't change the album and as a whole experience it's easily one of the best works of art I have ever listened to.

So again, I respectfully disagree but I think that's just going to come down to us being two different people. I find some albums to be perfect, whether that perfection comes from them being greater than the sum of their parts or the sum of their parts being absolute perfection themselves. You and a lot of other people don't see what I see there, and that's okay. But if I do Symphony X I don't think - at least at this stage - that there's an album of theirs that I would give almost every song a 10 too, so rest easy, lol.

Or maybe give it more of that poetic flair that professional reviews tend to have (or at least used to).
On occasion I've tried to do just that. Writing my review of Ghost Love Score took several paragraphs simply because that song gives me a lot of vivid imagery I tried to convert into words as best as I could. Writing up a review on Reise Reise from Rammstein, I played around with typical review structures to kind of get at my thoughts better. Did I succeed at both? I don't really think so, but yeah. When I write reviews I do try to really put a lot more effort into them than "we start strong, great riff, great solo, great chorus, wish the ending worked better 3/10". Doing (failing) the 365 albums thing probably hurt me in the long run because they weren't reviews so much as me jotting down initial impressions of albums I either would or wouldn't return to later. When I actually put effort into it it's possible that people just assume it's gonna be as cookie-cutter as those others were. But I 100% appreciate the criticism because as much effort as I try to put into my reviews I also realize that they aren't perfect and with every band I do I try to really build on what I've learned in the past. If I do Symphony X and Opeth, I'm going to start taking notes in build-up to the reviews, which I think I should've done a while back too. Get my thoughts collected before going in.

Very cool! Honestly, although I've listened to great death metal even before (Death - Symbolic - Empty Words in particular), it was them who really made me appreciate deathmet, growls and everything. Some of the most intriguing riffs I ever heard. And - to me at least - a truly artistic band - it was a band I tried getting my non-metal, non-rock (and actually somewhat non-music, more like literature and philosophy) friends into, with varying degrees of success.

That's not a push, I just hope your enjoyment's going to be at least 10 % of mine. Because even then you'll be having a really great time and I want to read about it :D
Yeah, I mean a song like Blackwater Park... man, I've loved it for years now, it's just perfect from start to finish. But getting past one great song and getting into the others is, of course, not always the easiest thing to do, lol. Is it possible to get the link to your Opeth doc? Listening through Orchid felt like a chore but revisiting it with that on hand might make it more interesting.
 

Midnight

The sun sets forever over Blackwater Park
If anyone wants song-by-song reviews let me know.
I'd like to join in too! I haven't heard much Symphony X, but I liked what I did hear. I don't think I'll be rating songs, though, since my thoughts on songs are far too unpredictable, vague, and conflicted for me to pick a specific numerical value.

The songs I've heard are:

The Divine Wings Of Tragedy:
Of Sins And Shadows
Sea Of Lies
Out Of The Ashes
The Accolade
Pharaoh

V: The New Mythology Suite (the entire album)

The Odyssey:

Inferno (Unleash The Fire)
Wicked
Incantations Of The Apprentice
Accolade II

Paradise Lost:
Oculus Ex Inferni
Set The World On Fire (The Lie Of Lies)
Domination
Serpent's Kiss
Paradise Lost
Eve Of Seduction
The Walls Of Babylon

So yes, I still have a lot to discover.

Metallica was a solid learning point for me and I feel like I overdid it in the sense of describing everything within the song and not just the key parts and overall opinions.
I really liked the way you gave your opinions on every single part of the songs. The only Metallica review you might have overdone it on was St. Anger (and at least that one was entertaining).

I'm going to start taking notes in build-up to the reviews
What sort of notes? I've never done a review before, so I probably need a bit of advice.
 
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